A courier company that delivers parcels for Amazon has settled a dispute with drivers that the GMB union claimed were falsely self-employed.
UK Express Delivery (UKXD) offered a 100% settlement to the drivers in order to prevent further false self-employment claims being made if the case had been brought to an employment tribunal. According to the union, some drivers received almost £20,000 in back pay.
The GMB claimed that the self-employed drivers, who solely delivered for Amazon, should have been treated as employees and received the protections provided under employment law.
Employment status advice
It said UK Express Delivery controlled their delivery routes, sanctioned them for poor performance and required them to pay for a van hired from the company.
Despite the drivers being self-employed, they were required to be available for 15 days per month and banned them from working for a competitor. Money was deducted from their pay if they were unable to work.
The union said the working practices entitled the drivers to paid annual leave, the minimum wage, sick pay, paid rest breaks and protection from unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing.
Maria Ludkin, GMB legal director, said: “Some employers seem to think they can avoid paying the minimum wage, or giving their workers the protection. However, as Amazon and UK Express have now realised, this is not optional – it’s the law.
“The drivers delivering for Amazon – like Uber drivers and delivery drivers for [another delivery firm] DX – are clearly employees and it is gratifying that the company are shelling out 100% of the amounts claimed.
“GMB will continue to fight bogus self-employment wherever it appears, and we call for other drivers at UKXD or any drivers who suspect their contracts are bogus to contact us, so we can investigate their claim.”
The union is also representing self-employed drivers who work for another delivery company, DX Group. It last year began legal proceedings against the company, which GMB said should move its drivers onto formal terms of employment. It claimed DX interviews and recruits its drivers, sets their work, requires them to use its handheld devices, and obliges drivers to find their own holiday cover.
UK Express Delivery was not available to comment.